Beale looking to finish on a high
Date: 23 Mar 2017
With news this month that Kurtley Beale will be heading back to Australia at the end of the season, he says he’s looking to repay Wasps with ‘something special’ in the final part of the campaign.
After recovering from a knee injury that kept him out from May until December, Kurtley Beale made an immediate impact in black and gold, with a man of the match performance in his first game for the club, scoring a try in the 32-17 win over Connacht at the Ricoh Arena.
Since then he’s produced a number of impressive displays, including another man of the match performance the last time out against Bath at the Rec that will live long in the memory.
As Wasps head into the final stretch of the campaign, Beale says it was a hard decision to head back home, but the pull of representing his country at the next World Cup was understandably strong, and he will always be grateful for the opportunity and experience at Wasps.
“It was a very tough decision to make to leave at the end of the season. Wasps have been fantastic in helping me settle in after a major injury and getting me back to the form that I was playing at before I got injured. I’m very grateful for all of the support that I have been given here from Dai down to the playing staff, the players, all of the backroom staff and fans.. It’s been a very enjoyable experience so far and I am really loving my time here with Wasps.
“We’re in a really good position at the moment to achieve something special and to be able to go back home with some silverware would of course be nice, but there's a long way to go. At the moment that is my main focus, to give everything I can to the rest of the year. To be able to repay them with something special like that would be an amazing achievement. I’m looking forward to finishing the year off strongly.”
With Wasps currently sitting top of the Aviva Premiership, and with a European quarter final against Leinster on the horizon, Beale’s time in a Wasps shirt could be capped in style.
“A lot of us see the opportunity that we have given ourselves. Dai is keeping a lid on it and he has been working us pretty hard the last couple of weeks, making sure that we are staying grounded and just focusing on the next game, not getting too ahead of ourselves.
“Finishing off the previous block against Bath with a win was a really good one for the squad. It allowed us to finish that block off in a positive manner and in the way that we wanted to finish it. It was probably our first complete game, where we ticked all the boxes in all departments. Our game plan worked, everyone followed it and it got the result for us.
“It obviously boosted the confidence around the squad at the moment, everyone is feeling very excited for the next little block. At the same time we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves, we need to focus game by game and that’s what we have been doing all year and we certainly can’t take our eye off the next tie, with a big game against Worcester, that’s for sure.”
Beale’s time in the Premiership has allowed him to mix with some of England’s international stars and he says that a number of the Wasps squad who have so far just missed out on that group, are banging on the door for inclusion.
“A lot of guys are putting their hands up for a gig with England Rugby, Cips [Danny Cipriani] Dobby [Dan Robson] and Joe Simpson are doing a great job here and doing everything they can to put their best foot forward for Wasps and I’m sure if they continue these performances they will be able to get a look in later in the season with England. As a back line around them we are all supporting those guys, because we know if we can all gel together, push each other to the best of our abilities and just play with our natural instinct, we will be able to help each other achieve higher honours.”
Beale was also full of praise for Christian Wade, who he says helps to ‘light up’ the rest of the side.
“Wadey is definitely up there, I’ve never seen speed like it before on the footy field! He’s another one of those guys that brings a level of X factor and he is a ball of energy for the group. He’s always smiling and getting the guys up whenever there is a tough day. Those players are special and when Wadey touches the ball on the field everyone else lights up.
“That is what we want, we want to feed off each other, especially at the back end of the season, when teams might be getting tired, I feel like we are only getting started. Once we are clicking and everyone has a good understanding of each other, we’ll definitely be a tough team to beat come the end of the season.”
That backline has been added to in recent weeks with the arrival of Willie Le Roux, who made his debut at the AJ Bell against Sale Sharks and has shown his attacking prowess already in a Wasps shirt.
“Willie Le Roux has brought a new level of energy, he’s a world class player, who plays with a lot of excitement and brings that to the squad on and off the field. He’s a very humble guy, who has a really good buzz about him. Joining midway through the season it has definitely given the lads a lot more excitement. Anyone with X factor like him allows guys to just feed off it, so it has definitely given us a new level of energy and he can certainly create a lot of opportunities for the guys around him, so everyone is very excited to be able to play with him.
“We’ve got a lot to play for. We’ve got a European quarter final next week, but we have a big game against Worcester first this Sunday and we know how tough a team they can be. On paper it’s a game we should be expected to win, but we’ve already seen them beat other sides like Saracens and Quins so we know what they're capable of and we’ll have to bring it if we want to get the result. For us, we need to be firing now as we move into the business end of the season so the focus is on us and making sure we’re right up there with our performances.”
Tickets for this Sunday's return to Aviva Premiership action as Wasps take on Worcester Warriors at the Ricoh Arena are still available at wasps.co.uk/tickets